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PetroChina swings to $2.3bn Q1 loss and Shell cuts dividend for first time since 1945

Giving an idea of the tough times ahead for international energy majors ahead this year, PetroChina yesterday revealed a net loss for the first quarter of RMB16.23bn ($2.29bn) versus a profit of RMB10.249bn a year earlier. Revenue fell 14.4% to RMB509bn. The state-owned giant said a cost cutting programme has been put in place without revealing specific details.

Today Royal Dutch Shell – the latest of keenly watched quarterlies from big oil firms during the crude pricing crisis – cut its dividend for the first time since the end of the Second World War.

Shell’s profits for the first quarter tumbled to $2.9bn, down 46% from $5.3bn in the same quarter last year.

CEO Ben van Beurden commented: “Given the continued deterioration in the macroeconomic outlook and the significant mid and long-term uncertainty, we are taking further prudent steps to bolster our resilience, underpin the strength of our balance sheet and support the long-term value creation of Shell.”

During BP’s Q1 results earlier this week the oil major said it will slash its group capital expenditure program by 25% to $12bn for the year.

Exxon Mobil issues its Q1 report tomorrow amid the historic plunge in crude demand and prices.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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